Who Remembers Hachiman?

The 1100m Hachiman Sprint, named to honour one of Borrowdale Park’s former champions, Hachiman, is the feature on Sunday. However, time passes, so one must wonder how many of today’s racing fans remember Hachiman?

The flashy chestnut, by Divine King(IRE) and out of Chrysanthemum (SNL), was bred in Zimbabwe by Robin Bruss. He was trained by Neil Bruss and owned by Terence Hardy.

There is no doubt Hachiman was particularly talented and the crowds loved him, but at that time Borrowdale had several strong stables, all fielding good horses, so Hachiman had to work quite hard for his money. He was able to prove himself in very competitive races – the mark of a true champion – and when he set the course alight his fans went wild. He usually won and when he did not there wasn’t much in it.

Hachiman made his name as a two-year-old, and at three showed he could hold his own over longer trips. Up the straight, he clashed with Swashbuckler (trainer George Uren), Ocean’s First and Relentless, trained by Keith Chant, and Penny Fisher’s charge, Great Dane. Even champions don’t have everything their own way. Terence Hardy longed to win the Schweppes Gold Cup with Hachiman but never managed it thanks to Relentless and Great Dane.

Of course, I remember Hachiman…he spoilt Chant fun too often to ever be forgotten…and those racing at Borrowdale Park in the eighties will also have stories to tell.

Penny Fisher recalls that when Great Dane won the Schweppes it was raining so hard that Kleintjie Badenhorst claims he weighed out 2 kgs over. Jeremy Brooks was doing the commentary – couldn’t pick up the colours at the finish and announced, “the black horse won”.

Of course, hard facts are more important than reminiscences and Jackie Cocksedge supplied the following:

“Robin Bruss imported a mare with Chrysanthemum (SNL) in utero. Chrysanthemum (SNL) was by the German sire Lombard. She had 10 foals in her lifetime including Hachiman born 1980. She was Broodmare Of The Year 1983/84.

“Hachiman got his name as follows. By Divine King (Ire) (the title attributed to the Emperor of Japan) out of Japan’s national flower the Chrysanthemum. Hachiman loosely translated means Warrior of War or God of War – something like that.

“Hachiman was Spey Bridge Champion Two Year Old in 1982 and Spey Bridge Champion Three-Year-Old in 1983. He won 15 races including TBA Sales Stakes, Owners & Trainers Champion Juvenile Stakes, Nursery Stakes, Glenlair Trophy, Guineas Trial Stakes, Shell Conservation Guineas, BP Conservation Guineas, and the Borrowdale Stakes but only managed 2nd twice in the Schweppes Gold Cup. He retired to stud in Kenya at Janet and Jo Mills’ stud farm.

“Chrysanthemum (SNL) directly through her daughters is also responsible for DEVASHRINE (Spey Bridge Champion Sprinter), LUPIN, DIPLOMAT, MITRA, VAL DE RA (Equus Champion Sprinter 2011), TEVEZ, PALLADIUM, and CUE THE MUSIC. A distant descendant from her family is our own famous MERCILESS SUN – campaigned by Sir Raymond Stockil and victorious 11 times including our premier race the Castle Tankard.”

So there you are – how I wish we could make our racing and breeding industries great again!

Six horses are carded for Sunday’s Hachiman Sprint, due off at 15.45, and the field includes Twilight Trip, winner of the 1200m HRIB Gold Cup, and Edward The Seventh who won the 1450m Zimbabwe Challenge on December 16.

The first race on Sunday is due off at 12.55.

Photograph Andrew Philip…Unfortunately no pic available of Hachiman.

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